Final preps for Thanksgiving Day parade

PHILADELPHIA - November 15, 2012

There will be 14 floats in the parade this Thanksgiving. Six of them are built by Kern Studios, a newcomer to the parade this year bringing expertise from New Orleans and Mardi Gras.

"Barry Kern is the king of Mardi Gras but does work all over the world, and we thought it was a wonderful addition to be able to bring him to Philadelphia," said Maria DiBenedetto.

The float props and sculptures are made in Kern's studios in New Orleans, but all the floats are built in Philadelphia.

"Then the props got installed and now we are just finishing them with some decorating details," explains Cheri Landry, Kern Studio Project Manager.

The polar bear float is a crowd favorite with its penguins, giant walrus, and of course mama polar bear.

The Thanksgiving float needs a few more fruits and veggies to add to the harvest, but the ten foot turkey is already for the big day.

"We built them from scratch, and they have to be securely attached so they can stand going down the road," said John Manhardt.

Kern's production supervisor will be busy the next week making sure everything is sturdy and bolted down on displays like the Disney float, which may not look like much now, but come Thanksgiving morning, Cinderella, Belle, and Aerial will be on board, along with their three princes.

Organizers say they will work right up until Thanksgiving eve if necessary to perfect Philadelphia's number one family tradition; a tradition that is now 93 years strong.

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